fighting spam and scams on the Internet
"419" Scam – Advance Fee / Fake Lottery Scam
The so-called "419" scam is a type of fraud dominated by criminals from Nigeria and other countries in Africa. Victims of the scam are promised a large amount of money, such as a lottery prize, inheritance, money sitting in some bank account, etc.
Victims never receive this non-existent fortune but are tricked into sending their money to the criminals, who remain anonymous. They hide their real identity and location by using fake names and fake postal addresses as well as communicating via anonymous free email accounts and mobile phones.
Keep in mind that scammers DO NOT use their real names when defrauding people.
The criminals either abuse names of real people or companies or invent names or addresses.
Any real people or companies mentioned below have NO CONNECTION to the scammers!
Read more about such scams here or in our 419 FAQ. Use the Scam-O-Matic to verify suspect emails.
Click here to report a problem with this page.
Some comments by the Scam-O-Matic about the following email:
- This email uses a separate reply address that is different from the sender address. Spammers use this to get replies even when the original spam sending accounts have been shut down. Also, sometimes the sender addresses are legitimate looking but fake and only the reply address is actually an email account controlled by the scammers.
- The following phrases in this message should put you on alert:
- "million pounds" (they want you to be blinded by the prospect of quick money, but the only money that ever changes hands in 419 scams is from you to the criminals)
- ",000,000" (they want you to be blinded by the prospect of quick money, but the only money that ever changes hands in 419 scams is from you to the criminals)
- "00,000.00" (they want you to be blinded by the prospect of quick money, but the only money that ever changes hands in 419 scams is from you to the criminals)
- "firstname.lastname@example.org" (this email address has been used in a known scam)
- This email message is a fake lottery scam. Consider the following facts about real lotteries:
- They don't notify winners by email.
- You can't win without first buying a lottery ticket.
- They don't randomly select email addresses to award prizes to.
- They don't use free email accounts (Yahoo, Hotmail, etc) to communicate with you.
- They don't tell you to call a mobile phone number.
- They don't tell you to keep your winnings secret.
- They will never ask a winner to pay any fees to receive a prize!
- This email lists mobile phone numbers. Use of such numbers is typical for scams because they allow criminals to conceal their true location. They can receive calls in an Internet cafe from where they send you emails, while pretending to be in some office.
- +447035960866 (UK, redirects to a mobile phone in another country)
- +448709744065 (UK, redirects to a mobile phone in another country)
- This email lists free webmail addresses. Use of such addresses is typical for scams. Lotteries, banks and any but the smallest of companies do not normally use such addresses. Criminals use them to anonymously send and receive email at Internet cafes.
- email@example.com (Yahoo, United Kingdom; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "Guinness Anniversary Program" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Thu, 13 Aug 2009 21:17:20 -0000
Subject: Guinness anniversary draws notification
Caple House, 24b
N19835LS, United Kingdom
JOIN THE GUINNESS WORLD 250TH ANNIVERSARY
We are pleased to inform you of the result of the just concluded annual final draws of Guinness world celebration
program.Guinness world draws was conducted on-line by an automated random computer ballot search from the Internet. No
tickets were sold.
This draw is conducted to make Guinness 250th anniversary.
After this automated computer ballot, your e-mail address attached to serial number 01-98-87 drew the lucky numbers
2-16-41-26--92, which consequently emerged you as our only winner in the United Kingdom Booklet.
You been approved for a lump prize off of 1,000,000.00(One Million Pounds) in cash credited to File Number GU/08/250XN.
Please note that your File Number falls within our British booklet category. In view of this, our affiliate bank in the
Europe would release your 1,000,000.00(One Million Pounds) to you in the United Kingdom.
To claim you are required to send the necessary information to our helpline below: Name....... Country......phone
Mr. William Philips
Information and Payment Bureau:
United Kingdom Office
Mrs. Grace Sian